Steamed whole fish Chinese-style

A whole fish flavoured with ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil looks quite spectacular yet is easy to prepare. It is the perfect meal to serve when entertaining, perhaps with steamed rice and a side dish of crisp Asian greens or mermaid's tresses

Steamed whole fish Chinese-style


  • 1 whole firm white fish, such as bream or snapper, cleaned, skin on
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons salt–reduced soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 5 cm (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, to garnish


  1. Clean and rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Make three or four diagonal slashes down to the bone on each side of the fish and gently rub with the salt, inside and out.
  3. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir the soy sauce and sesame oil together in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Fill a steamer basket or wok with water so it is about 7.
  6. 5 cm (3 inches) deep and bring to the boil.
  7. If using a wok, place a trivet in the bottom.
  8. Rinse the salted fish under cold running water, then dry with paper towels.
  9. Place on a heatproof plate and lower into the steamer basket or wok; do not let the plate touch the water.
  10. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam the fish gently for 15–20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  11. Meanwhile, heat the peanut oil in a small frying pan and cook the chilli and ginger over high heat until softened.
  12. Transfer the fish to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the spring onion, ginger and chilli.
  13. Pour the soy sauce and sesame oil mixture over the top, garnish with coriander sprigs and serve immediately.

Serves 4
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes


Low Fat No Fat Asian Cooking

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